Archive for Wednesday, April 13, 2011

City of Lawrence agrees to pay $50,000 as part of settlement in medical gas case

Austin Stone, who was injured in a medical gas accident during a 2009 dental procedure, is now a student at the Kansas State School for the Blind. The City of Lawrence has agreed to pay $50,000 as part of a settlement with Stone's family.

Austin Stone, who was injured in a medical gas accident during a 2009 dental procedure, is now a student at the Kansas State School for the Blind. The City of Lawrence has agreed to pay $50,000 as part of a settlement with Stone's family.

April 13, 2011


The city of Lawrence has agreed to pay the family of a 21-year-old Tonganoxie High School graduate $50,000 as part of a settlement for brain damage he suffered during a 2009 dental procedure.

Chief Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild approved the settlement Wednesday afternoon in the lawsuit brought by Austin Stone and his family. Other than the city, the terms of the settlement agreement reached with the remaining parties in the case was confidential, Fairchild and attorneys said.

The suit was filed in 2010 on behalf of Stone and his parents, Tara Passmore and Lance Stone, alleging oxygen and nitrous oxide lines were crossed during the design of Dr. Kirk Vincent’s new oral surgery office at 4811 Bob Billings Parkway.

Related document

Austin Stone-City of Lawrence Settlement ( .PDF )

The recent settlement came after a March mediation session in the case, attorneys said.

Fairchild had already approved a $3 million settlement in January in the case between Stone’s family and Action Plumbing Inc. of Lawrence, which installed medical gas lines at Vincent’s new office.

Stone had visited the office to get four wisdom teeth removed by Vincent on March 30, 2009, but he was injured and had to be hospitalized. He was in a coma after the incident and is now legally blind and has other health issues, according to court documents and past testimony in the case.

Attorney Jerry Cooley said the city was denying liability as part of the settlement.

“It was a case that was a real tragedy. There were wet eyes from lawyers as well as witnesses through the deposition process,” Cooley said. “And the young man has a lifelong alteration in his life. We certainly feel for that, and hopefully the money will go to good use for his well-being, as I know it will.”

The suit alleged the city had a duty to require particular inspections by certain medical gas installation experts. Cooley said since the incident the city has adopted an ordinance requiring a certificate by a certified medical gas inspector be provided to the city before an occupancy permit can be granted.

Other than the city and Vincent, remaining defendants are Patterson Dental Supply Inc. of Topeka; Blanchard Design Group LLC of Lawrence, the project’s architect; general contractor Design Build Collaborative LLC of Lawrence; and mechanical engineers Hoss and Brown Inc. of Lawrence.


ratfamily 3 years ago

I always love all the legal analysis from qualified attorneys who have extensively researched the case and the applicable law in their free time, and who have the time to post anonymously on ljworld when a story comes up like this. Thanks for always citing to your sources as well. How enlightening!


mr_right_wing 3 years ago

If things haven't changed since the 70s and 80s, the local school district is responsible for paying tuition to KSSB. So it most likely dosen't end at 50k.....


verity 3 years ago

No amount of money can ever make this anywhere near right---what would you do if it were you or your child?


brngbckwoo 3 years ago

I disagree with the posts questioning the validity of the lawsuit against the city. As stated in the article and reiterated by other posters, the city is liable because they irresponsibly signed off on the inspection which they were not qualified to perform. Lawsuits both provide relief for wrong doings, and encourage a greater respect for rules. I am happy this family has closely examined everyone responsible and is pursuing them to the fullest extent so that this story doesn't repeat itself. Having to pursue multiple lawsuit would be physically and emotionally draining, but they are fighting to make sure we can all rest easy knowing our healthcare providers have taken the necessary steps to ensure our safety. We should be able to use healthcare to get better, not fear the worst.


oletimer 3 years ago

While condolences are in order for Austin in this tragedy, it just amazes me how lawsuits happen. Why is the city included? Because the families lawyer knew they would pay off like a slot machine. Which they did. Where lawyers dream up the lists of folks to sue never fails to amaze me. Everyone and anyone even remotely involved with the situation gets on the list. Why? More chance of bigger money. Which is what the lawyer loves more than anything else.


gphawk89 3 years ago

Weird timing. My little kid was put on nitrous for the first time yesterday for a filling. This case was definitely on my mind and I was more than a little nervous about it.


LogicMan 3 years ago

The UPC people put part of the blame on Lawrence for switching to the IPC:


somedude20 3 years ago

The city is not really being punished here as they will use tax dollars to pay this. What needed to happen is to make the person(s) who made the mistake pay out of their own pocket otherwise they will learn nothing. Also, it is sad that it took this event to make the proper people do their job. If I had made a mistake this large, I would be fired! Shame on them!


Steve Jacob 3 years ago

I still don't see how the city is on the hook for this, but if it would cost them thousands for a trial anyway, might as well settle.


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